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Sunat and influencers: what you should keep in mind about filing and paying taxes

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After the National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration (Sunat) indicated that those people who monetize for their activity in social networks must declare their income, the influencers will have to count the profits they obtain through the sale of online products, the promotion of their videos and sponsorships; as well as paying taxes. This remuneration can be either of the third category, taxed at a rate of up to 29.5%, or of the fourth category, taxed at a rate of 8% and intended for those with lower income.

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Although the term influencer is an Anglicism that has become known thanks to social networks, and against which the Royal Academy advises the use of “influencer”, “influencer” or “influencer”, it has also become a trend in the economic sector after the last reminder of the Sunat. Along these lines, various specialists give their opinion about this activity, which has intensified with the pandemic and which is part of the reactivation process of a country hit by the health crisis.

Second call

In October 2019, Sunat met with a group of influencers, belonging to the fields of entertainment, gastronomy and fashion, to offer them guidance on meeting your tax obligations and the consequences in case the income is not declared. In addition, the institution explained to them what would happen if the expenses are not related to their activity, if there is no issuance of sworn statements or if the issuance of proof of payment does not correspond to the type of occupation that they proclaim.

In this sense, Marcel Ramírez, a professor at the School of Public Management of the Universidad del Pacífico, points out that this process is an observation that already had roots two years ago: “What Sunat is doing now is to warn that he is going to look at them to control because the obligations have already been clarified.” The specialist explains that it is not a new tax, but the same one that involves the exercise of receiving a payment for a service and then paying a tax for it. “Another thing is that technology and advances begin to emerge new forms of economic activity”, he assures.

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Ramírez also talks about the exchange, one of the most popular dynamics in the digital world. “Companies know that they must issue an invoice in which they indicate that they (influencers) were given a product as an exchange for the value of so much,” he says, adding that although “the influencer did not pay, they did it has generated a tax obligation ”. In addition, he perceives that due to the pandemic, all virtual businesses have increased and that the presence of these protagonists in social networks has followed the same rhythm because companies want to advertise their businesses online.

The specialist also indicates that Peruvian companies have an important role in monitoring this sector because they have the power to deliver a list of suppliers, taking into account that the influencer assumes this task. “For Sunat that is a possible follow-up, then they will look at the networks … It is a broad process,” he says.

The ethical activity of brands and influencers

The relationship between sponsoring brands and influencers will take a new course, especially since it is an important link for the success of the purchase. According to a study carried out by Talk Shoope, 45% of Peruvian respondents indicated that content that has a brand endorsement or advertisements on YouTube, for example, makes them akin to buying a product.

Álvaro Montúfar Calle, professor and head of the Markting Communications area at the University of Piura, explains that this relationship between the two actors is going to change. “Although the standard has the purpose of broadening the tax base, it also has an ethical approach: that the end consumer is able to discern that content that has been propagated through an influencer for some economic benefit. This is important because it impacts on the credibility of the message ”, he indicates. He adds that this alliance will change in a positive sense because it will become a way of doing corporate social responsibility, both for influencers and brands.

“The brand cannot disappoint its consumer, nor can the influencer disappoint its community. The interest remains the same: brands continue to want to reach those significant volumes of people and influencers continue to want to capture that attention and maintain that relationship in the long term “says the specialist, who concludes that this progressive and effective change will cause companies to be much more committed to the common welfare because “we cannot forget that taxation is a means to achieve the development of society.”

Financial benefits

For her part, Katherine Huayhua Huamán, general manager of the company Howard Consulting SAC, warns that initially it will be at the discretion of each influencer to contribute to the collection system because it will be somewhat difficult for Sunat to keep a strict control of everything that such a protagonist wins through networks. “He is going to be a pilot. Sunat will have to work in alliance with other entities so that they can raise awareness. After the pandemic, the topic on social networks has moved a lot, the topic of buying and selling online, even virtual courses, so it is important that Sunat has a control for formality, but you have to do a job behind ”, He indicates, and adds that this it will only be possible if a good awareness program is carried out.

Faced with this scenario, Katherine Huayhua also advises delving into the benefits for influencers: “If they declare all their income, they will build a good history at the banking level and later they can access credit. There are benefits as long as all income is formalized ”. He also points out that the role of brands is vital because they could reinforce the information on the amount they pay, in such a way that this data can then be complemented with what Sunat receives from the influencers. “Yes, there will be an increase in collection, but it will be gradual. There is a work of great awareness, which in fact developed countries already have. There are countries that have the luxury of having a VAT of 7%, like Panama ”, he points out.

What are the steps to comply with this tax obligation?

  • Register in the RUC as a natural person with a business or legal entity.
  • Issue electronic payment vouchers for your earned income.
  • Choose a tax regime according to your activity and income level.
  • Change the tax regime if you exceed the maximum annual income limit.
  • Declare and pay taxes in a timely manner.
  • Keep accounting books depending on the tax regime you have chosen.
  • Request proof of payment (invoices) only for purchases related to the line of your business.

In a scenario in which all are important actors in the configuration of the Peruvian economy, adaptation and the fulfillment of duties become key pieces for the context to lean towards the common welfare. It should also be noted that Sunat has taxpayer service centers so that citizens can resolve all doubts in this regard.


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